Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just Keep Swimmin'

Transition is kind of like your locker in high school; you have this tiny space to put your stuff and the person next to you is all up on you and really your bubble of personal space is invaded. You have the little room underneath where your bike is racked to put everything you need for the bike and run. I like to think that I'm low maintenance but hot damn if the person next to me would have showed up I'm not fully convinced all of my stuff would have fit! It wasn't even that much but with that many people racing there really is no personal space.

So as I set up I had air put in my tires and laid out everything I would need. My coach told me "Don't spend any more than 5 minutes in there" Apparently there are people that will spend 30 minutes in their transition place setting things up. So as I'm placing my running shoes next to my clip ins I couldn't help but hear her voice in my head "Really though, there are people who bring buckets of water into transition to wipe off their feet, what is this a spa?!" haha I chuckled to myself and it eased the anxiety. Once I had emptied my gym bag of the necessities I decided to leave and not look back. I needed to get into my swim suit/wet suit anyways.

It was still early, the sun was just coming up, but nearly everyone had arrived. The line for the porta-johns was ridiculous but I wanted to make sure I peed one more time before putting the wet suit on. Before I could do that though there was a woman who demanded I give her my arms and left calf...she was writing my number on my arm and my age on the back of my leg. I was officially branded. Wow that's exciting.

Alivia and Brian were so unbelievably patient. Besides the fact that neither of them was really that awake they were really helpful carrying things for me and easing my tension. We began the mile walk out to the beach where I would be starting. It was probably only 6:15 or 6:30 at the latest, yet the beach was packed with people. We found a nice spot to sit and veg out, waiting to watch the pros take off. It really was an amazing experience being able to sit on the beach early in the morning with so many people who were all going to attempt to take on 170.3 miles. A little before 7am they did the national anthem and lined up the pros. This was the part I was waiting for, the start of the Ironman. My wave start wasn't until 7:44am but once that gun went off there was no going back, it would only be a short time before I would be next.

I loved watching the racers run, high knees out in the water...and boy did they fly! Wave by wave the racers took off. At about 7:15 I was getting ready--Putting on my age group white cap and doing a walk into the water. As I went to put my goggles on I felt a sharp snap on my wrist. SHIT. My goggles broke in half at the center piece. I do a quick freak out, followed by a mental note, not to freak out and walk over to the aid station. I asked the volunteers if they had any tape because my goggles had just snapped and I had a 7:44am wave start. They felt badly for me and took out some of their med tape. The problem quickly became known that the little plastic piece that would connect the center to the eye piece had completely fallen off. The two did their best to tape it together but when I put it over my head the goggles broke again. They both looked at me apologetically and said there wasn't anything else they could do. In the heat of a panic I crazily asked them if they would consider taping them to my face. One of them laughed, but then tried to pull it back and told me she couldn't do that because it might rip my skin off.

Ok now would be the time to panic! I ran over to Alivia and Brian, take a deep breathe and just say, "Now what?!" Brian takes a moment to think and goes, "I'll run to Walgreens and try to get another pair." I look at my watch, it's 7:21 "There's no way you'll make it" I tell him. He didn't really hear me because he had already taken off to the car. (He never actually made it out of the race area anyways, everything was blocked off). Meanwhile, Alivia was running around asking people if they had extra goggles, god I love that girl! So then there was me arguing with myself in my head, could I swim the 1.2 without goggles? Well yea, but it would suck and I could potentially lose a contact in the process. So I walked up to the last resort and asked one of the volunteers if they knew if anyone had an extra pair of goggles. She told me to go over to the announcer and ask him to ask over the mic.

Things have a funny way of working out. As luck would have it, the announcer saved me, and had an extra pair sitting on the side. I could have squealed! I thanked him, told him I owed him my race and went to go line up with my wave start. It was 7:37.

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